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Najkor: Tolong … I beg you. One more chance. I can’t live without you.

Bersih Girl: You still have Altuya.

Najkor: No, no. She’s no more…

Bersih Girl: What you mean ‘no more’? I saw her yesterday.

Najkor: You saw her…? Where…?

Bersih Girl: LRT. Going the direction of your office.

Najkor: No…no…no…! It can’t be real…!

Bersih Girl: Why you shaking like this…? You sakit. You’re weird. She also weird. Red dress, carrying lantern some more, like going to wedding.

Najkor: I mean, we’re no more together. I swear. You ask Bagda, you don’t believe. She’s with him.

Bersih Girl: Liar. Bagda is married.

Najkor: Not anymore. Divorced last month. Please, don’t leave me. I can’t live without you.

Bersih Girl: Then throw yourself in front of KTM. Like Anna Kareni…

Najkor: You’re cruel. This is a plot isn’t it? A conspiracy.

Bersih Girl: Apa you cakap. Everything to you conspiracy.

Najkor: It’s that boy, isn’t it. What’s his name? Maha… Maha what. How long you’ve been with him?

Bersih Girl: I met him only once. Don’t be an idiot.

Najkor: How much he gave you?

Bersih Girl: You’re mad. There’s nothing between us. This is not about him. It’s you.

Najkor: Please don’t go. How much he gave you?

Bersih Girl: Oh…Oh… you’re impossible. To you, everything money

Najkor: How much? 2 million. Enough? Okay… 2 billion!

Bersih Girl: You sudah gila? You’re mad. 2 billion. Ringgit no value. Throw in another 1.

Najkor: What you want! Please…

Bersih Girl: Nothing. But you…, nothing will ever, ever be enough.

Najkor: Please, don’t go. What you want…!

Bersih Girl: You’ve gone too far. Break up!

*

Nice, very nice. BTW, Salam…

Bersih, Power and the Malays: A View from an ‘Ultra’ Chinese

Wake up! It’s time!

From the Chinese, how we might conduct a rally, a demonstration…After which, imagine how we might want to help run a country, with Malay-Chinese characteristics.

For Zam’s information, Chinese play politics equally as nuanced as Malays, if not more — akin to wayang kulit. The cleaning is not altruism or pure civic consciousness although either of which is a part thereof. The Chinese, especially the youths raised in the Chinese schools, are highly disciplined in their rationality and so do what they must, their duties.

So why the leave the streets cleaner than before they went in? Answer: Bersih.

CNY4i_rUwAA7TVD

*

At MyKMU.net, this statement DAP Chinese dominate Bersih4 is accompanied by this question: After Bersih4 then what…?

In Malaysiakini, the report ‘Racial Imbalance at Bersih4‘ says the same thing at KMU also with a historical comparison reproduced in table form below.

  • Bersih 1 – Malay 80 percent and Chinese 20 percent,
  • Bersih 2 – Malay 60 percent and Chinese 40 percent,
  • Bersih 3 – Malay 50 percent and Chinese 50 percent,
  • Bersih 4 – Malay 20 percent and Chinese 80 percent.

Nobody actually counted, so those numbers are a pure guess. It is, however, Zainuddin Maidin’s thoughts-in-a-tweet reproduced in Malaysiakini that is the more revealing (to the Chinese anyway):

Amazing is the spirit of the Chinese joining Bersih 4 to topple the Malay government. That is what is being felt in the outskirts (by the Malays apparently).

Zam then added this, and which gives a partial answer to the KMU question mentioned in the beginning:

The faces of ‘Chinese Bersih’ which have drown the Malays do not benefit DAP, but instead would unite the Malays who are concerned.

On three counts —  (a) Chinese want to “topple” the government, (b) DAP won’t end up better, and (c) seeing the Chinese, Malays unite — they are revealing because on two of them, (a) and (b), Zam thinks that’s what the Chinese truly want — and that toppling the government is at all possible — hence worth the 34 hours spent on the streets.

On the third point, (c), it hasn’t occurred to most Chinese to think on those terms: how the Malays respond is something for the Malays to decide. Who are the Chinese to mind their business? Malay response is peculiar only to Malays, and so is something no Chinese would or could interfere, much less to preempt.

If Malays see Najib Razak’s Fate, that is his continuing leadership, as strictly a Malay issue to be resolved among Malays only, then the Chinese — whether they are with the DAP or MCA — will agree without question. This explains why Umno’s Barisan Chinese allies have held on their tongues, say nothing, do nothing, thus preserving the coalition principle that each party cares only for its own affairs.

The problem that repeatedly surfaces from the principle is that Barisan’s allies have to accept what Umno throws at them, whether such a man may be a Mahathir Mohamad or a Najib Razak, and even though this is a Barisan and not an Umno-only government. Najib is on the throne today by virtue of other parties deferring to Umno’s wishes, that is, by the goodwill of other peoples, those in Sarawak and Sabah included.

Those added-on terms and conditions in Barisan conduct and policy — in this case, accept whoever Umno puts on the throne — raise even more problems, always brushed aside and never talked about openly. What if Umno gives us a rascal? A spendthrift? Or an incompetent ruler?

In theory, the government operates as a coalition of parties — the word used, ‘consensus’ — but that doesn’t happen, for such is the power centered on the prime minister.

What if Umno is split down the middle, as did in Mahathir’s time and today as well under Najib? What do we do, Zam? Whose side should the Chinese take, or should we just pretend nothing’s happened? Should the Chinese stay as they are, in Singapore, keep their jobs, mind their business, and say, get lost, Zam, you sort out your Umno problems, after that tell us who you want as chief and we’ll do accordingly, in Parliament or whatever?

The DAP took this dilemma and for years and years banged and banged and banged on it, making Umno’s allies — your friends, mind you — look like a bunch of useless running dogs, daring not even to whimper when beaten with a stick. Now, has the DAP not a point in what it alleges? Isn’t it true?

In another way of phrasing the dilemma impolitely: Umno members screw up, friends pay the price, willingly or unwillingly, it doesn’t matter. One consequence? Umno throw some bones, some marginal electoral seats, to MCA or MIC in an attempt to preserve the pretense of a consensus, a multiracial coalition, a big happy family. Then arseholes like Helen Ang, and before her Syed Akbar Ali, say Umno should not preserve MCA’s existence, should not do it any favors because it can’t deliver.

But does it work, those bones that is? No! It once again reinforces the image of a dominating — no, a domineering — Umno in desperate efforts to keep the throne, others beholden to it, and yet, within itself, a tottering power unable to right itself much less do anybody a favor. Such gestures turn to ammunition for the DAP: see that man there in Jerantut? Another, spineless running dog.

This is not the worse of it. To start with, the Chinese understand well enough the ketuanan doctrine underlying the Barisan ‘consensus’. They learned the 1969 lesson, and it would have been well enough to leave it at that — hence serving Umno’s political life and purpose: Malays can decide whatever or however it is they want to run the country. The problem surfacing over and over and over again is that Umno is not the only Malay power.

Nearly all other Malay political parties, PAS, PKR, Semangat and so on, have their origins from within Umno, in its internal upheavals, so that Umno never, never, never will tolerate another Malay power within the Barisan coalition while happily taking on other Chinese or Indian parties.

You, Zam, think those moves are smart ones — making Umno exclusive, but Barisan inclusive for everybody else but Malays? Wrong. Two immediate and long term consequences:

  • (a) Umno is left with no escape mechanism, no release hatch, for the dissatisfaction, for the dissent, boiling in the cooker that is Umno, and
  • (b) race relations get worse; Mahathir and people like you, Zam, beat up on the Chinese and say if Malays don’t unite, their votes get split three ways, four ways, whatever number of ways; the Chinese take over. Najib, supposedly nice, moderate man, has started alluding to it, the Chinese in Perak for example.

This (b) is the point you as well as KMU also allude to when underscoring Chinese ‘domination’ in Bersih4. But it is Point (a) that is being felt in, felt by and affects Point (b). We, the Chinese and Malays, have now arrived at both (a) and (b) — a two-in-one imbroglio.

If Barisan has a mechanism to take in all Umno dissenters, Barisan would still have a Malay chief and Mahathir’s bellyaching about Chinese taking over from Malays wouldn’t be necessary. If there is no such mechanism, ask then yourself, Zam, why not? Who, what is choking on it?

This is the trouble, Zam: Umno keeps saying only it represents the Malays and only it can keep Malays united — is a contradiction through and through. Why is it only you don’t see it? Anwar is after all Malay; so, too, Mat Sabu. If you think they are not Malay enough, and that they are in the pockets of the Chinese (or DAP), well then give it to Hadi Awang? After which, see if the Chinese will turn up for Bersih? What do you think Zam? Will the Chinese turn up for Bersih?

Among Malays the received wisdom about the Chinese is contained in one word, apathy. It fits the description as to why the Chinese stayed home for Bersih 1 through Bersih 3. But it has not occurred to Zam that the Chinese might be just deferring power to Malays: You want to rule the country, you want to be Lord and Master, well, go for it. Nobody’s stopping you. Besides, what has it got to do with us, the Chinese?

Now that they are on the streets, KMU suggests they want to rule the Malays, they want to dominate politics. You see, with characters like you, Zam, there is nothing the Chinese do that can be right and will make you happy.

But understand this: Pakatan, or ex-Pakatan, operates no different from Barisan’s ground rules, the chief of which is, the Malay must be king, after which give the Chinese some space. Not much, just to live peacefully and work out our lives ourselves. Barisan, and Umno in particular, failed on those principles — yes, including on Malay rulership — and now Pakatan reformulated is just trying to take over. Terms and conditions are unchanged.

If the DAP isn’t going to be better off from Bersih4 — and, in this regard, Zam is right — then there is nothing to worry. Just let the whole damn thing run its course, after which things will be the same; everything will be okay tomorrow. Will it? Also, half of Umno doesn’t want things to be the same, not under Najib.

Barisan has to return to its basics if it is to recapture the initiative. It cannot be the same, not anymore.

NB: Related to this essay, Confessions of a Bersih Girl.

 

That, above, is from a Malay blog. Not Chinese. Below is from the Chinese, and it doesn’t say a Chinese should be emperor.

To Hell: Banknote from Heaven & Earth Banking Corp (天地银行)

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Poem in the Chinese placard:

马币变废纸 Ringgit turns to waste

纳吉最无耻 Najib’s most bareface

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Another Monkey on the Tree(ABW) says:

…the estimate puts DAP Chinese supporters at 80% with other races at 20%. Still, such an unprecedented high percentage of Chinese made the whole BERSIH 4.0 gathering meaningless. … A mere circus act.

Here’s the clown in ABW’s circus, one Melayu plus 80% Chinese:

Return of Altantuya

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The Murder

Bersih4: Syed and Shid

“Edward sounds too ‘Ah Beng’ to overthrow the gomen !!,” says Syed Akbar Ali,

and…

…Syed thinks too scared ‘Shid’ to ever dare try.

Bersih Girl, Tan Keng Liang, Letter 2

All Chinese cops in KL, all at the front lines.

***

Dear Mr Tan Keng Liang,

A politician in Penang, you would have heard of Tan Yi Min 陈乙敏, in hanyu pinyin transliteration Chen Yimin. You remember her?

She would be 12 in November, residing somewhere in Selangor, Kajang perhaps, in Primary Six today, going to Form One the next semester.

On Nov 8, 2010, a car with Selangor number plates arrived at the gates of Nibong Tebal’s Kwang Hwa Chinese primary school, stopped at its gates, three men got off, entered and, after an initial confusion, went to the main reception office looking for teachers. It was getting late, even for lunch, some teachers finishing their mid-day meals and, in time, the parents would arrive to collect their children. The principal was not in school when the two officers of the Selangor Religious Department asked to see him, the third man, a uniformed policeman hovered nearby.

Even in abnormal circumstances the presence of the Malay men was bizarre: coming from Shah Alam and getting there before class dismissal, they would have to cover about 400 kilometers, door to door, in five hours with perhaps a brief stop or two along the North South Expressway. It broke every rule in the book about keeping apart our ways of living.

The men wanted Tan Yimin. Without preface, a religious officer lifted her onto his shoulders while she kicked, wailed and screamed all the way to the gates. Nobody in school believe this was happening, Yimin’s teacher incredulous, while everybody else looked on. What could they do? What could anybody do? Nothing like this has ever happened before, not in Malaysia, not in particular Kwang Hwa.

Her father Tan Cheow Hong ( 陳招宏), after he was summoned, turned up, and the tussle continued into the local police station where Tan saw his wife, he said, wearing a ‘Malay’ dress. Ashen-faced, the tumult in his heart would have been nearly unbearable. Is this right? He would have asked. Policeman, yes. Could they talk this over? No. Could they wait? No.

In Yimin’s case, there were no two ways about it: she was abducted, forcibly, backed by the authorities acting in the name of Islam and in the name of the government of Malaysia, specifically a Selangor department under the watch of its MP, Khalid Samad, along with two Pakatan state governments, Penang and Selangor. Oddly, none of this is new. Hindraf fought tooth and nail over the cause of the Indians. MCA? Gerakan, given it is non-racial, couldn’t it do so in the name of social justice?

Should you, Tan Keng Liang, think all this has nothing to do with Bersih Girl or with you, then I say, patience; we’ll come to that.

Malaysian conduct doesn’t differ significantly between politics and life, not especially on Twitter where Christian Chinese and Anglophiles (Andrew Yew, Hannah Yeoh, et al, and note those kinds of names) have the market mostly to themselves. It begins like this: state your stand then argue your case. This is called deductive logic: the German philosophers Nietzsche and Schopenhauer call it, Reason follows the Will. It is identical to religious morality: I believe in God, and here are reasons for my belief. Similarly, in politics I’m on the side of Bersih and here’s why; or, I am for Gerakan and here’s why.

European Enlightenment flipped all that around, and which now forms the basis of rationale, scientific thought. It is called inductive reasoning. First Reason then conclusion.

This way of reasoning, or Kantian reasoning, was revolutionary, even at an ethical level: (1) you can be good without god (2) morality can be had by reasoning (Kant called it the ‘categorical imperative’) (3) anything else, Jesus in particular, are pure nonsense.

In the case of the Bersih Girl, it was easy to put her down. People in bare midriffs have no power, no influence, no Twitter, speak little or no English, and Anglophiles have Malaysiakini cornered to themselves. Then there is already a pre-determined idea of Bersih which goes something like this: moral, upright, dedicated and especially this, clean.

A person such as Tan Keng Liang (or Hannah Yeoh or Andrew Yew) operate on morality terms when he posted Bersih Girl. It inverse Bersih morality: Look at her! you say. The next thought, isn’t she flippant? Loose? Pointing to her bare midriff, Tan deemed her immoral (however defined). If she is immoral, then Bersih, can’t be moral.

In one stroke Tan inextricably connected sexuality (beauty actually) and morality and religion (recall that religion and morality are not the same.)

Those kinds of judgements, it will surprise you to know, are not contained in Chinese culture, not even Malay if one were to push the argument far enough. But they are, in Islamic morality and in Christianity, the latter synonymous with western culture and this is not incorrect. Habermas: Judeo-Christianity is the ultimate foundation … of western civilization. Everything else is postmodern claptrap. (How had the Chinese ended up as an Anglophile Malaysian First? Check out the life of Hannah Yeoh.)

Take those judgments mentioned earlier, push far enough, and this is what follows: The girl can’t be Muslim which was already obvious. Malays don’t do this sort of thing and Malays are Muslims. It’s always the Chinese; they corrupt the Malays, Malaysia; Anwar had sex with a Chinese prostitute; Baginda Razak was enticed then harassed by a Chinese-looking girl. One Minister (Hisham perhaps) went as far as saying that the Chinese women DAP MPs, without saying so explicitly though, visiting the mosques were defiling the place. Dirty, he says. Teresa Kok, Christian herself, would concur; she, too, knows what it is to be dirty and clean, to her words with only moral connotations.

Here then is the penultimate conclusion, and this is not conjecture but one sees and hears with deadly regularity: You’re Chinese? Be ashamed.

Mr Tan, remember the MACC interrogations of Teoh Beng Hock and others associated with DAP Selangor. The point of being Chinese, and whether they are shameful, went deep into the interrogation sessions. One question repeatedly told of the interrogations was this: You orang Cina? You dari Cina? In Petra Kamarudin’s Malaysia Today, and in popular culture you see the same insinuations: Chinese are materialistic (as opposed to spirituality, that is, godly).

Thus we have this popular, common perception of the Chinese in Malaysia: sex, immorality and irreligiousity. (Publicly, DAP Christians want the votes of the Chinese grocer and noodle stand hawker; privately they spit at them for their old, voodoo Chinese ways and Nga Kor Ming of Perak is most adept at it.)

When you, Tan Keng Liang lifted off the Bersih Girl photo, tar her on moral terms, you invariably sharpen the differences between a Melayu and a Chinese. You, on your Twitter, had gone two-thirds of the way (sexuality, morality, religiousity), one step short of race. And it is only a short step away.

We won’t go into the history of this popular culture but let’s return to Yimin’s case and Pakatan and the Government of Malaysia.

Few, perhaps nobody, had expected either the government of Malaysia or Barisan Nasional to intervene in Yimin for reasons that are likely to be political and perceptual: uniformed men, Islam, Malay, and Law. As expected Yimin’s father filed a lawsuit but never got back his daughter, then already converted. (Tan Yimin is today Eilliyah Foong Abdullah, Foong being the mother’s surname. All traces of paternity, central to traditional Chinese culture are removed.)

We are expected to live by the Law, treat it as sacrosanct. Yet, repeatedly, the Law fails us so that politics is our next bet. It is in our instinct and one sees it most clearly in Umno: Malays go to the party for nearly everything to do with life. It is as if our existence is wedded to politics, a thing most peculiar to Malaysia. Imagine, on the other hand, a Negro American running to the Democratic Party to get a school place for a child or take care of a traffic ticket. It happens nowhere else so that Tan Keng Liang and other politicians should be aware of those ramifications.

Once the law failed, that is Malaysia failed, it raises a question. And this is not whether Yimin’s father should have gone to Gerakan or the DAP or MCA because he would have been already told that they are laws protecting his interest.

Yimin’s case wasn’t just a marital dispute between two Chinese parents although nearly every comment has said so. Once it concerns Islam the nature of the dispute automatically dissolves and moves on: it draws in the Malays, as a whole (recall, Malay men were involved). In short, race politics.

Alongside the politics comes a related question of morality because the starting point in the mother’s claim on Yimin is that the latter won’t be raised a Muslim, hence without Islamic morality. On the Chinese side, the question is this: Are the Malays — Yimin’s mother herself also retreats into the larger issue of race — so cruel as to take away a child who has nothing to do with them? The matter of the mother’s conversion becomes secondary and so is the Islamic morality-purpose in the abduction.

Those who know the Malays well enough, the answer to the question above is, no. Malays are a people who long ago, more than the Chinese did, had learned to live and let live – the words ‘relax’ and cool’ are Malay synonyms. Not, however, when Islam enters their lives. This is when things change, God (Islam, Christianity) fundamentally alters the character and the quality of relations between peoples, family and friends. Between Chinese and the Malays, it has been tumultuous.

Like Christianity, Islam is demanding in its absolutism: no two ways about it, do this and do that. It is only in Malaysia (and Indonesia) that the Malays, as a culture, had managed to ameliorate this harshness and which explains why the coalition of Barisan is, in hindsight a good thing, because it becomes a platform, a venue to allow the Chinese and and Malay to deal with problems. The Law does not always supply all our answers to questions of our lives.

In Yimin’s case, though, it went beyond the question of (marital and family) law becoming, in effect, a Malay-Chinese issue. This is why the Gerakan or the MCA should have intervened and, the mother, even if its within her adopted Islamic rights, has to surrender that adoption for the precedence and the greater good, that of Malay-Chinese harmony. Once political parties enter the fray, Yimin’s case is for the state, that is, the government of Malaysia, to answer: Malaysians are, after all, entitled to protection of the state. Yimin no less, but race politics failed her.

Unfortunately, alongside the indifference of race politics, of Gerakan, of MCA and of Malaysia, is this problem: lawyers turned Yimin into a strictly legal tussle while the mother turned it into religious question, that is, one of morality. Small wonder we never, never, never resolve problems even with a platform such as Barisan although it was set up precisely for such a purpose.

The first matter of legality need not detain us, but the second, of religion and race, had deeper more sinister propelling power: here is a mother who adopts the convenience and the excuse of Islamic morality in order to get at the child. And she knows why: flaunt the word or the idea of Malay, or better yet Malay-Muslim, you can nearly get away with anything.

Malay isn’t just a politically superior concept, it also has to do with the infidel thing (recall PAS once branded Umno as infidel for working with MCA, MIC). The infidel concept: if you are not with God you can’t be good or if you can you won’t make it to heaven. Christianity adopts the same posture.

This explains why it always a Chinese (occasional an Indian) who is depicted to be of loose morals, whether sexually or materially, because Islam (or Christianity) alone defines what is to be good. (For your information, Mr Tan, Chinese culture defines good the Kantian way: good is defined by reason.) Would you find a Malay-looking girl appearing in bare midriff? If she were Malay would you have posted her photo? Would you dare? We all know the answer, don’t we?

It is too late in the day or too arduous to change popular perceptions, so that the next best thing is to fall back on politics, race politics in particular because it provides all the elements for helping us get along. But not ideology, whether it is the ideology of Christian democrats (DAP) or Islamism (PAS) or social democats (PKR/Gerakan). We won’t go into it those. But, from hereon, you can see why your depiction of the Bersih Girl has strong, entirely adverse implications, not just about Chinese morality but also in the relations between Malay and Chinese.

You were wrong on more than one count: the author writing to you in the name of Bersih Girl can’t pretend to be Bersih Girl when her identity was never known – how do you ‘impersonate’ (your word) a non-existence? Bersih Girl or her impersonator isn’t Opposition either and not even pro-Oppo by which you mean you are attacked because you are Gerakan or Barisan. Wrong again. I have however this regret: dragging your mother into this sordid business. Sorry.

Naturally the DAP and the Bersih people would be gloating over the Bersih Girl letter — that’s in the nature of the beast called politics. But the point they missed is contained in the points you infer in your Twitter: race, religion, morality. It’s now a foregone conclusion that Bersih4 would be Chinese dominated and this opens up the way for the tin-heads in Umno and PAS to exploit: Chinese opposition against Malay interests. With a bare midriff, this becomes their idea: Itu Cina, what a bunch of whores!

It is not my station in life to advise on what should be the response to Bersih. Neither is it yours, Mr Tan. Let it be. But your methods are not it. Malay-Chinese relations is at the core of Barisan’s work so it is best to start there. What the Opposition has succeeded is to brush the race question aside, dismissing it in effect, and replacing it with such slogans as Bersih with all its moral connotations; they also made sure to sprinkle in Malay faces, a tacit acknowledgement that in Malaysian politics there is no getting away from race. Their way can only go so far but then Barisan, along with your Gerakan arseholes, had 50 years or more to tackle the problem. Now look at it.

Salam…

Bersih Girl

PS: Mr Tan, your spittle fills buckets. In Yimin’s case, where were you?

***

Tan Yimin’s abduction in Penang: She is the child in school uniform being lifted and taken out of the school. Note the two men, one in dark uniform, in front of a parked car. Other parents are watching. This is November 2010, two years after the DAP had taken Penang; PKR-DAP-PAS had Selangor.

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